Bank of America Mortgage Review 2024

Good for: low- to moderate-income buyers who qualify for down payment or closing cost assistance programs and homeowners interested in a home equity line of credit.
Abby Badach Doyle
By
Last updated on January 8, 2024
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed
Alice Holbrook
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed

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Our Take

4.0

Home loans overall
NerdWallet rating
The Nerdy headline:

Bank of America stands out for its grants and programs to help low- to moderate-income home buyers, but any borrower can benefit from Bank of America's digital conveniences and competitive mortgage rates. Jumbo loans are also a focus.

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Bank of America
Bank of America: NMLS#399802

Min. credit score
660
Min. down payment
5%
National / regional
National
Loan types and products
Purchase, Refinance, Home Equity, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Offers down payment and closing cost assistance programs.
  • Existing customers who meet certain qualifications can receive a discount on mortgage lender origination fees and HELOC interest rates.
  • Receives high marks for customer satisfaction, according to J.D. Power and Zillow.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer renovation or construction-to-permanent mortgage loans.
  • Must enroll in online banking to access Home Loan Navigator.
  • Fined $12 million for reporting inaccurate mortgage applicant info to the federal government.
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Full Review

Bank of America and consumer trust

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) fined Bank of America $12 million in November 2023 for incorrectly collecting, recording and reporting demographic data. Loan officers repeatedly failed to ask applicants about their race, ethnicity and sex, but reported that applicants declined to provide the information, the CFPB said in a press release. Accurate reporting allows regulators — and the public — to monitor fair lending practices in the mortgage industry.

In agreeing to the civil penalty, the lender neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing. Bank of America has not responded to NerdWallet’s request for additional comment.

A lender’s NerdWallet star rating is negatively affected by recent regulatory actions for violations that harmed mortgage customers. When shopping for a mortgage lender, do an online search to see if the company is in the news, and why.

Bank of America’s mortgage loan options

  • 4 of 5 stars

Bank of America, one of the country’s largest mortgage lenders, offers a wide range of purchase and refinance loans, including fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages in a variety of term lengths. It specializes in jumbo loans for high-value properties and also issues government-backed mortgage products such as FHA and VA loans. The lender also offers specialty mortgages for doctors whose student debt might make it challenging to qualify for a traditional home loan early in their careers.

As you might expect, all these options make for a large and detailed website. However, we had no problem navigating to find more information on loan types or frequently asked questions.

Bank of America’s biggest differentiator is its Community Homeownership Commitment, which aims to make homeownership more affordable for first-time and low- to moderate-income home buyers. Programs vary by location, and some have income and other eligibility requirements (such as completion of a first-time home buyer class). Offerings include:

  • Down payment grants: Up to $10,000 or 3% of the purchase price, whichever is less, in select locations.

  • Closing cost grants: Up to $7,500 for nonrecurring closing expenses, such as title insurance and recording fees. 

  • Affordable Loan Solution mortgage: Buyers who meet income limits can qualify for a minimum down payment of 3% and reduced-cost mortgage insurance.

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Bank of America HELOC

The lender also offers a home equity line of credit, or HELOC. These second mortgages are a way for homeowners to access existing home equity without refinancing or selling their home. Funds obtained with a second mortgage can be used for expenses such as home improvements, education costs or debt consolidation. Bank of America earned a spot in NerdWallet’s best HELOC lenders roundup.

Its variable-rate HELOC offers several interest rate discounts: one for initial withdrawals, available to all HELOC borrowers; one for automatic monthly payments, exclusive to Bank of America online banking customers; and tiered discounts for Bank of America customers who belong to the lender’s Preferred Rewards program.

The lender also offers a fixed-rate conversion option, a unique feature not available from all HELOC lenders. A fixed rate can make your payments more predictable over time. Another plus: There is no annual fee for Bank of America’s HELOC, while some other lenders’ HELOC fees range from $50 up to $99 annually.

What it’s like to apply for a Bank of America mortgage

  • 5 of 5 stars

Digitally savvy borrowers will be happy with Bank of America’s full suite of online tools. However, the lender provides the most conveniences to its online banking customers. For example: If you’re not a current customer, the “apply now” button prompts you to first fill in a contact form to prequalify before you can move any further, rather than beginning the application itself.

Certain digital conveniences after you apply, such as tracking your loan application with Bank of America’s Home Loan Navigator, are reserved for online banking customers, too.

Ultimately, though, Bank of America allows you to get prequalified or fully apply for a mortgage online. That’s a big plus when you’re serious about homebuying and don’t want to wait for a loan officer to call you back.

If you need assistance with your application, a “help” button quickly displays a customer service phone number. When we called the customer service number in our research, we had to wait through two lengthy phone menus before speaking to a customer service agent. However, once we were transferred to a loan officer, our questions were answered. You also have the option to schedule a phone call.

The Bank of America website offers the option to schedule an appointment with a home loan specialist. It prompts a user with questions about what they would like to discuss: Home equity, purchase, or refinance.
The Bank of America website offers the option to schedule an appointment with a home loan specialist. It prompts a user with questions about what they would like to discuss: Home equity, purchase, or refinance.

Bank of America also offers online chat. In our research, we were triaged by a bot but ultimately connected to a human. We found the agent's chat responses to be somewhat vague, but they followed up with relevant links to videos and articles on the Bank of America website where we could research more information.

You can also apply for a mortgage over the phone or in person at a Bank of America branch. Click the “Locations” link at the top of many pages to pull up a list of nearby branches. Not all branches have a home loans specialist on site, though: To show locations that do, use the “Financial Center Services” drop-down menu to filter relevant results.

The Bank of America website displays an interactive map to find a financial center or ATM by searching for an address, ZIP code or landmark. A drop-down menu is displayed, indicating the option to filter results by locations that have a home loans specialist.
The Bank of America website displays an interactive map to find a financial center or ATM by searching for an address, ZIP code or landmark. A drop-down menu is displayed, indicating the option to filter results by locations that have a home loans specialist.

Bank of America’s Home Loan Navigator portal helps borrowers stay plugged in throughout the lending process. However, to access these conveniences you need to enroll in online banking with Bank of America. Then, you can upload documents, download loan disclosures and track the progress of your loan. Home Loan Navigator is available online or in the mobile app for Apple and Android devices.

Bank of America’s mortgage rates and fees

  • 3.5 of 5 stars

  • Bank of America earns 3 of 5 stars for average origination fee.

  • Bank of America earns 4 of 5 stars for average mortgage interest rates.

NerdWallet analyzes federal data to compare mortgage lenders’ origination fees and offered mortgage rates. We measure annual averages across all loan types, as reported by the lenders. Compared with other lenders, Bank of America’s interest rates are on the lower side, while its origination fees are typical.

Borrowers should consider the balance between lender fees and mortgage rates. While it's not always the case, paying upfront fees can lower your mortgage interest rate. Some lenders will charge higher upfront fees to lower their advertised interest rate and make it more attractive. Some lenders just charge higher upfront fees.

Bank of America’s mortgage rate transparency

  • 4 of 5 stars

The lender’s website displays interest rates for several of its fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgage products, along with the annual percentage rate, any discount point assumptions and an estimated monthly payment.

Sample mortgage rates are displayed on the Bank of America website. Fields exist to input purchase price, down payment and ZIP code to customize the rates that are shown. Sample rates are listed for a 30-year fixed, 15-year fixed and an adjustable rate mortgage.

You can enter your purchase price, down payment and ZIP code to see more customized rates. However, you can’t personalize rates by entering a credit score.

What borrowers say about Bank of America mortgages

NerdWallet’s lender star ratings assess objective qualities, including rates, fees and loan offerings. To assess borrowers’ subjective experiences with lenders, NerdWallet has gathered customer satisfaction ratings from J.D. Power and Zillow.

  • Bank of America receives a score of 747 out of 1,000 in J.D. Power’s 2023 U.S. Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study. The industry average for origination is 730. (Mortgage origination covers the initial application through closing day.)

  • Bank of America receives a score of 662 out of 1,000 in J.D. Power’s 2023 U.S. Mortgage Servicer Satisfaction Study. The industry average for servicing is 601. (A mortgage servicer handles loan payments.)

  • Bank of America receives a customer rating of 4.82 out of 5 on Zillow, as of the date of publication. The rating reflects more than 13,350 customer reviews.

Alternatives to a home loan from Bank of America

Here are some comparable lenders we review that borrowers can consider.

Chase is another large national bank that offers specialty programs and grants for qualifying first-time home buyers. PNC Bank has options for borrowers seeking jumbo loans.

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John Buzbee contributed to this review.

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Methodology

NerdWallet’s overall ratings for mortgage lenders are evaluated based on four major categories: variety of loan types (purchase, refinance, fixed and adjustable, for example), ease of application, rates and fees and rate transparency. Among the factors we consider when scoring these categories are options to apply for and track loans online, the level of detail about mortgage rates on lender websites and our analysis of the rates and fees lenders reported in the latest available Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data. These scores generate ratings from 1 star (poor) to 5 stars (excellent).

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